HP Innovation Journal Issue 03: Summer 2016 | Page 16


The future of business is social selling

Powerful new connections for HP Partners and Customers

by Vincent Brissot , Head of Channel Marketing & Operations , HP
In last quarter ’ s journal Jos Brenkel , Global Head of Sales Strategy and Operations , noted that the “ reinvent ” credo of the new HP Inc . was not just about products , but about process — as evidenced by HP ’ s fully redesigned channel strategy . HP Social Media Center , part of the new HP sales portal , makes it easier for our partners to share HP ’ s innovation with their customers for better business outcomes . It provides partners with support and resources to help them thrive in the new world of social business . Greater online visibility and engagement means a greater opportunity for customers to find partners with the solutions and expertise they need to achieve desired business outcomes .

The Art of Selling has gone digital , and B2B commerce is fundamentally changing . The customer journey has migrated online : sixty-seven percent of purchase decisions are now made before the buyer ever makes contact with a sales rep . Seventy-two percent of B2B customers research solutions via social media . 1 To have a presence in that crucial awareness-consideration-decision journey , HP and their partners need to meet customers where they are . This retooling may be a challenge , but this move to social business has as many advantages for partners as for customers . In these relatively early days , 78 percent of sales people leveraging social media are outselling their peers , and they ’ re connecting with customers who have significantly higher budgets . 2 Social selling is here to stay , and HP ’ s transformation of the sales process is aimed squarely at equipping

1 “ Social Media and Sales Quota Report ”, A Sales Guy Consulting , 2014
2 IDC , “ Social Buying Meets Social Selling : How Trusted Networks Improve the Purchase Experience ”, April 2014 our partners to better serve our customers .
The growth of social media is changing the very nature of how we interact , with a million active mobile social users signing on to social media sites every single day . 3 Business interactions have evolved from face-to-face , to phone-to-phone , to the current screen-to-screen environment .
“ What ’ s next , robots buying and selling ?” Well … yes
The next transformational leap in B2B commerce is imminent : robot to robot , AI-driven negotiation .
3 Forrester — top channels : Twitter , Facebook , Instagram , LinkedIn , Google +, http :// bit . ly / IJ3 _ 07
From customer standpoint

72 % of B2B buyers use social media to research solutions

From sales standpoint

84 % of buyers who use social media have larger budgets

67 % of purchase decisions made before buyer engages a sales rep

78 % of sales people using social media outsell their peers

Sources : 72 % = DemandGen Report , 2013 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey ; 67 % = SiriusDecisions , 2015 B-to-B Buyer Study ; 84 % = IDC , “ Social Buying Meets Social Selling : How Trusted Networks Improve the Purchase Experience ”, April 2014 ; 78 % = “ Social Media and Sales Quota Report ”, A Sales Guy Consulting , 2014
Does that sound implausible ? Consider how the accelerating trajectory of technology has offered buyers and sellers new ways to efficiently close deals . As far back as 1991 , scientific papers were predicting negotiation planning via artificial intelligence . Fast forward to Facebook ’ s recent investment in chat-bot technology to help businesses answer customer inquiries , provide information , and facilitate transactions . Granted , AI and bots in commerce are in their infancy , but Gartner has predicted that by 2020 , customers will manage 85 % of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with another human .
What does this mean for our partners ? It means that traditional selling tools are not
16 Innovation Journal · Issue 3 · Summer 2016